In this issue:
1) New vaccination and Green Pass requirements
2) Budget Law 2022 and new employment provisions
- Corporate delocalization.
- Active labour policies.
- Women in the workforce.
- Mothers coming back to work.
- New requirements for retirement.
- Law by Decree No. 1/2022
- Law No. 234/2021
New vaccination and green pass requirements
Law by Decree No. 1/2022
The recent Law by Decree No. 1/2022 provides for new requirements concerning vaccination against COVID-19 as well as the green pass certificate, effective from January 8, 2022 (or a different date, depending on the specific case, as shown below) until June 15, 2022.
In particular, we note the following new provisions:
- Starting from January 8, 2022, all Italian citizens, as well as citizens from the European Union that reside in Italy and foreigners who benefit from the Italian Health Care system, are required to vaccinate against COVID-19 if they are currently 50 years old or older or they will be 50 years old by June 15, 2022.
- Starting from February 15, 2022, employees of the public and private sector, if 50 years old or older, will need to possess and display a “reinforced green pass” (a certificate that proves that its carrier is either vaccinated or has fully recovered from a COVID-19 infection) to access the workplace.
The second point above means that testing negative for COVID-19 (thus receiving a basic green pass for “passing” an antigenic rapid-test or a molecular test) will no longer be sufficient for employees 50 years old and older to access the workplace. Furthermore, these employees are required to always show their reinforced green pass, whether asked by their employer or not, and their green pass certificates cannot simply be checked by random sample, requiring instead to be verified every time they enter the company premises.
Furthermore, from February 15, 2022 to June 15, 2022, these older employees without the required reinforced green pass will be prohibited from accessing the workplace and will be considered unexcused absentees with no pay until they provide a reinforced green pass or, if earlier, until June 15, 2022, although they will keep their job for the whole duration of the ban and will not suffer any disciplinary action.
Lastly, the law contains a provision for older employees who are fully or temporarily exempt from the reinforced green pass requirement because of an ascertained danger to their health due to specific and documented clinical conditions certified by their general practitioner or by the vaccine doctor. For the period in which these employees are exempt from the vaccine requirement, they will be able to enter the workplace but the employer shall assign them to different tasks, without any reduction of their remuneration, so as to avoid the risk of spreading the infection from COVID-19.
Budget law 2022
Law No. 234/2021 and its new provisions regarding employment
Law No. 234/2021, otherwise known as the “Budget Law 2022”, was issued on December 31, 2021, and provides, among other things, for some interesting changes to employment regulations, that took effect on January 1, 2022.
The new regulations regard: (i) corporate delocalization; (ii) active labour policies; (iii) women in the workforce; (iv) mothers coming back to work; and (v) new requirements for retirement.
These new regulations can be summarized as follows.
i. Corporate delocalization
The Budget Law 2022 addresses the subject of company delocalization, providing for new obligations for employers who intend to outsource part of their businesses abroad.
These new regulations apply to employers with at least 250 subordinate workers, including executives and apprentices, and intend to cease operations by closing a specific office, establishment or autonomous business unit located in Italy, subsequently terminating at least 50 subordinate employment contracts.
These employers are required to communicate, in writing and within 90 days before executing the collective dismissal procedure provided under Law No. 223/1991, their intentions to the competent trade union representatives, to the interested regions as well as to the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Italian National Agency for Active Employment Policies (colloquially known as “ANPAL”).
The communication must specify the economic, financial, technical and organizational reasons behind the employer’s intention to cease operations, as well as the number and role of the affected employees, and the prospective timeline of such closure. Any dismissal for economic reasons (whether individual or collective) issued before the above-mentioned 90-day period has expired or without the abovementioned communication will be null and void.
Within 30 days (please note that this term is not explicitly set forth under penalty of forfeiture) of the employer’s communication, the “closure-plan” must be discussed with all the recipients of said communication in such a way as to achieve an agreement on the program to be followed.
Should such an agreement not be reached, and, in any case, once 90 days have elapsed since the employer’s request/communication, the company may carry out the collective dismissal procedure pursuant to Law No. 223/1991, without the application of the first phase therein described (which provides for a similar communication from the employer, followed by a possible joint examination with the trade unions).
ii. Active labour policies
The Budget Law 2022 also sets new objectives with regard to training, qualification and requalification of inactive workers or those who are excluded from the labour market, following what had already been provided under the “National Recovery and Resilience Plan”, as well as other previous measures concerning the upskilling and training of workers (specifically the Ministerial Decree of December 14, 2021 and the Ministerial Decree of November 5, 2021 regarding the “Guaranteed Employment Program for Workers” or “GOL”, for short).
Regarding employees who are eligible for governmental salary integration programs (“Cassa Integrazione Guadagni” or “CIG”, for short), a new training requirement has been introduced to which the access to said salary integration will be conditioned, as well as specific sanctions (such as deducting a monthly instalment of salary integration, or even denying access to such integration altogether), in case of an unjustified absence from any programmed training.
The Budget Law 2022 also includes a provision aimed at encouraging new employment. For a maximum of 12 months, employers may receive a monthly contribution equal to 50% of the extraordinary salary integration (“Cassa Integrazione Guadagni Straordinaria” or “CIGS”, for short) that the affected workers would have otherwise received. This is available to employers who hire (with an indeterminate employment contract) workers who are included in employment transition agreements and/or beneficiaries of CIGS, as long as the employer has not executed collective dismissal procedures or individual dismissals for economic reasons in the last 6 months with regard to the business unit in which the new hire will work.
iii. Women in the workforce
The Budget Law 2022 has dedicated numerous provisions to promote gender equality in the workforce and support female employment.
First and foremost, 52 million euros have been assigned to the Fund for supporting gender pay equality. This Fund will now also be dedicated to overseeing a series of active policies that companies will be required to comply with (for example to obtain certain contribution bonuses) pursuant to the new provisions of the Equal Opportunities Code. In particular, articles 46 and 46-bis, as amended by Law No. 162/2021, dedicated respectively to the gender-report obligation for employers and the gender equality certification.
A specific Decree from the Prime Minister will regulate the procedures and methods for the biennial gender-report that companies with more than 50 employees will now be required to submit in regard of the situation of male and female employment, as well as for company certification.
Moreover, pursuant to the Budget Law 2022, the Italian Council of Ministers will have to adopt a National Strategic Plan for gender equality in line with the objectives set by the European Strategy for Gender Equality for the 2020 – 2025 timeframe.
iv. Mothers coming back to work
The Budget Law 2022 introduced – on an experimental basis and only for the year 2022 – a 50% contribution exemption for one year for new mothers working in the private sector.
From the moment these employees return to work following their mandatory maternity leave, their employer will be able to take advantage of the above-mentioned contribution exemption. This measure, in addition to those already in force regarding resignations by employees returning from maternity leave, aims at facilitating the return to work for working mothers, thus avoiding the risk that mothers will exit the labour market with a supposedly voluntary resignation that, in reality, is actually imposed or “highly encouraged” by their employer.
v. New requirements for retirement
At the end of the period in which the so-called “Quota 100” (a measure allowing retirement with 38 years of contributions and 62 years of age) is in effect, the Budget Law 2022 increased the requirements for retirement. The new “Quota 102” will be in force, on a transitional basis, for the current year 2022.
This new “Quota 102” retains the 38 years of confirmed contributory seniority requirement, but increases the minimum age to 64 years. Requirements for the cumulation with employment income and starting date of the pension remain the same under the “Quota 102” as they were under the “Quota 100”.